Read about the outlook for state fiscal conditions, the effect of the drop in gas prices on states, the ethics of gifts, the debate over motorcycle helmets and state efforts to support home caregivers.Read a rundown on the top public policy issues facing state lawmakers in 2015, state-private sector partnerships for infrastructure, e-cigarettes and taxes and dealing with cuts to mental health programs.
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Annual U.S. obesity-attributable medical costs are estimated at $147 billion, driving many lawmakers to support proposals that promote healthier food choices.
State policies can help provide people with nutritious food choices, starting at birth. Recent research indicates that incentives to eat well, along with making the healthy choice an easy choice, can encourage a better diet. A variety of policies also can bring a wider array of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, seafood and other local agricultural products to diverse communities and make them affordable. Providing more nutritious food for human consumption may reduce risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers and high blood pressure. It also may help states prevent health disparities by income, race and ethnicity that derive, in part, from what people eat.
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